STEPHANIE SILVER

When lockdown began, creatively I was working on an Edinburgh Fringe show called Walk of Shame. I was also doing the last few shows of the tour How to Save a Life. All those shows were cancelled.

I’ve been a nurse for 10 years. I qualified in 2010 as a registered children’s nurse. I trained at drama school in my late twenties. During Covid I’ve focused more in my nursing and developing my clinical role, skills and knowledge.

I work in a general medical ward on a twelve-and-a-half-hour shift. Sometimes I can be in charge and that means responsibility over twenty-four patients and a team of staff. Luckily, I have an amazing team that supports me and guides me to be the best nurse I can be. My favourite part is always making connections with families and kids and putting a smile on their face. 

Theatre skills come in handy as a children’s nurse; kids like honest communication, they like silliness and they like to feel valued and listened to. My acting skills really help me in communicating and actively listening and being able to read the Gruffalo in different voices!

It feels like a weird time. Reflecting on the initial outbreak, it felt like the nursing team were the infantry. There was a pressure on us to be more autonomous. In that way the challenge was good but it also made you feel very disposable, like your life didn’t matter - which is a strong statement, but with all the changes in PPE rules and the shortages, it did genuinely feel like that.

 

Personally staying away from my family for 3 months and seeing no one but my work friends was hard. I worried about my mother as she is a nurse at a district general where there was very little PPE. She had to fight for a mask and eventually she had a breakdown and got signed off. I still worry about her as now she’s back to work. 

 

It’s made me realise that having two jobs I love is the best! I’m a very lucky human. My nursing inspires my writing. I just hope as a working-class artist there will be space for me and the industry gets more inclusive rather than as it stands now. A new landscape needs to be forged so stories – real, diverse stories - can happen.